05/15/2013 12:13PM

Pimlico: Summer of Fun tries to use Hilltop as springboard toward big season


When Summer of Fun ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall, she was dismissed at 43-1, yet outran her odds, finishing third in a race that has proven to be quite deep. Flotilla, the winner, returned to win the French 1000 Guineas, and Sky Lantern, who was eighth, won the English 1000 Guineas.

Those results, plus the physical transformation Summer of Fun underwent over the winter, gives trainer George Weaver the hope that he could have a big year with her. Summer of Fun returned from a four-month layoff to win at Gulfstream Park on March 23, and takes an intermediate step on Friday at Pimlico in the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

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“She ran against some really nice fillies in the Breeders’ Cup,” Weaver said Wednesday. “She trained very well over the winter. She developed. She filled out, got stronger.”

Weaver said graded stakes are the goal after this, and that firm turf will be a high priority.

“She really likes firm turf,” he said. “I don’t think she’s as good on yielding or on soft.”

Eleven were entered in the 1 1/16-mile grass race, including Kitten’s Point, who won the Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream in March, and Birdlover, who had excellent form in California and is seeking to rebound after a disappointing effort at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.

Graham Motion, who sends out Kitten’s Point, also has Le Fascinator, who has finished first and second in her last two grass races.
Premier Steps, a stakes winner on the Gulftream turf in January, should appreciate a return to the grass after racing on Polytrack at Keeneland. Miss Lucky Sevens drew wide, but has the speed to be prominent throughout.